Monday, August 20, 2018

Peaceful postcard of a steaming log


Yep, yet another "steaming log" post on Papergreat. This is a Cardinell-Vincent Company Color Type postcard that has never been used in its century-plus of existence. According to MetroPostcard, that California company was in business from 1907-1919 and "published view-cards of California in a variety of techniques through a number of different printers. They were chosen as the official publisher of postcards for the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915."

The caption on the front of this card states:

A FALLEN MONARCH
MUIR WOODS, MT. TAMALPAIS
STEAMING LOG


Mount Tamalpais, which rises to 2,571 feet, played an important role in Miwok culture, as those Native American peoples warned that a dangerous witch dwelled there (although they might have said this just to scare the white people into staying away). Today, Tamalpais stands as an important wildlife refuge, especially for some endangered species, so, witch or no witch, we can hope that humans will continue to stay away as much as possible.

Finally, on a related note, I mentioned the Muir Woods in this post about Gray Line tours of the Stanford area last fall.

Montoursville 2018: My schools (Part 1)

[Lyter Elementary School on Spruce Street, July 2018]

With regard to my Montoursville memories, I only have two schools to talk about — the elementary school and the middle school. Given the years that I lived there, I never attended Montoursville Area High School, which is embedded so beautifully near the center of the town's residential grid. In fact I was only ever in that building a couple times, once for a middle school choral concert. So I'll leave the history and tales of Montoursville High to others.

I lived in Montoursville for the following school grades:

  • Nursery school (at a church)
  • Kindergarten (C.E. McCall Middle School)
  • First grade (Lyter Elementary School)
  • Second half of fourth grade (Lyter Elementary School)
  • Fifth grade (C.E. McCall Middle School)
  • Sixth grade (C.E. McCall Middle School)

I attended two years of nursery school (1974-75 and 1975-76) at what is now Faith United Methodist Church on Fairview Drive. (I would also attend Sunday School and Boy Scout meetings at that church, in later years.) The story goes that I wasn't quite ready, in terms of social adaptation, for kindergarten following my first year of nursery school, so I went through a second year. Regardless, I don't have any memories of either year. But there are snapshots! Here is a group picture from June 3, 1975 — the end of my first year of nursery school. That's me in the blue shirt, sitting on the ground in the far left of the front row. I definitely don't look like nursery school graduate material at that point. I look like I need a nap.


Following the two-year nursery school grind, I attended kindergarten in a first-floor classroom toward the back of C.E. McCall Middle School. Mrs. Bonazzi was my teacher, and I previously wrote about the ephemeral proof that I graduated on June 10, 1977. I remember generally enjoying the kindergarten environment. We learned the alphabet, and it was a high-energy classroom full of colorful educational materials on the walls. I wish I had other recollections beyond that, but it's just been too long.

By that point we were living on Spruce Street and, for first grade, my new school was Lyter Elementary School, aka the "George C. Lyter Building." In that September 1975 issue of The Otstonwakin, the following was written:
"George C. Lyter Building — It is a modern building located on Walnut and Spruce Streets and is used for grades from kindergarten through grade four. It is estimated the building can be used to provide for the needs of the school district for thirty years."
Lyter Elementary opened in September 1959, so in 1975 they were estimating that the building would remain in use until at least 1989. It has far surpassed that estimate as it enters its 59th school year of existence this fall. The school is named after George C. Lyter, who was supervising principal of Montoursville schools from approximately 1918 to 1950.

It was about three blocks along Spruce Street for me to walk to first grade at Lyter Elementary during the 1977-78 school year, and I recall doing so often. My teacher was Ms. Miller, and my room was straight ahead, then on the right, after you went through the main entrance on Spruce Street. My first-grade memories include:

  • Praise for being way ahead of the curve on my reading level.
  • Counting by fives with aplomb.
  • Our desks were usually organized in a circle (or perhaps a rectangle), with everyone facing inward and being able to interact with each other.
  • Frequently breaking into smaller groups for learning and practice.
  • Our class made a recipe book that all of the parents contributed to. Mom's contribution was "Mommy's Favorite Hamburger Hash," and I wish like hell I could find that mimeographed book, but it's surely gone.
  • I had to stay after school one day for talking out of turn, and I cried.
  • The playground was patrolled by a paddle-toting administrator. I never actually saw anyone paddled, but, oh, there were stories.

When our family return to Montoursville two-and-a-half years later, after a stint living in southern New Jersey, I would return to Lyter Elementary in the middle of the school year as a fourth-grader...

TO BE CONTINUED

Friday, August 17, 2018

Poignant postcard illustration by a victim of torture


This is the front of a postcard that was sent to me recently by the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, an Arizona organization that, according to its website, "provides free legal and social services to detained men, women, and children under threat of deportation."

The artwork was provided by a FIRRP client, who has been "a victim of torture and human trafficking." Being able to create such works of beauty in the midst, or wake, of such pain and uncertainty is a gift.

Here is some more information from the FIRRP website, which accepts donations to boost its humanitarian efforts.

  • "The Florence Project was born in the 1980s, when countless immigrants crossed the Arizona-Mexico border fleeing violence and persecution in Central America. Instead of finding safety, they were met with the harsh reality of detention and a confusing legal system."
  • "Detained immigrants facing deportation in the U.S. do not have the right to a public defender. Without representation, many will lose their case and get sent back to the conditions they are fleeing. To some, this is a death sentence."
  • "An estimated 86 percent of the detained people go unrepresented due to poverty. The Florence Project strives to address this inequity both locally and nationally through direct service, partnerships with the community, and advocacy and outreach efforts."
  • "The vision of the Florence Project is to ensure that all immigrants facing removal have access to counsel, understand their rights under the law, and are treated fairly and humanely."

Obviously, FIRRP's efforts are needed more than ever in 2018.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Mystery photo: Marvelous
mid-century theater troupe?


Tonight's mystery snapshot, which measures 4¼ inches wide, is sadly lacking in any information whatsoever, but it's still quite fascinating and rewarding for the casual ephemeraologist, especially when you start zooming in and checking out all of the people (non-blurry and blurry) populating the image.

There are probably enough people and specifics here that somebody could give us a positive ID on the location and the group pictured. But that would take getting it in front of thousands — maybe tens of thousands — of eyeballs, which is not something this blog tends to excel at. It's kind of a small-circle ephemera experience.™

So, if this is indeed a theater troupe, what play was it performing? Perhaps a mashup of The Crucible with Troilus and Cressida? And I'm kind of dying to know what's up with the woman on the fake horse. But alas...

Montoursville 2018: Konkle Memorial Library (Part 2)


During the tail end of my nostalgic visit to Dr. W.B. Konkle Memorial Library on July 13, after checking out a dandy bookshelf full of Lycoming County and Pennsylvania history books, I explored a part of the library I had never before seen: the basement.

After descending a narrow staircase in the former bank and flipping on some light switches, I discovered a set of rooms containing additional books for circulation and also unwanted books that are part of the library's ongoing sale. Most of the books in the latter category had been withdrawn from circulation and dated to the 1970s and 1980s, which made them great fodder for browsing. These are books that Mom would likely have considered in the early 1980s, while I was checking out the Ruth Manning-Sanders and Beverly Cleary books.

For fun and to support the library in a small way, I plucked a couple volumes off the for-sale shelves for purchase. Here they are...


This 1977 hardcover reissue of Arthur Conan Doyle's Tales of Terror and Mystery, published by Doubleday & Company, contains 13 stories, with titles such as "The Horror of the Heights," "The Terror of Blue John Gap," "The Man with the Watches," and "The Nightmare Room."

This edition is illustrated by Barbara Ninde Byfield and contains an introduction from Nina Conan Doyle Harwood, Sir Arthur's daughter-in-law and would-be protector of his literary estate.

Shown below are the circulation-card pocket and an interior Konkle library stamp from this 41-year-old book.



* * *


Up next is this volume, which has a great cover and less-great reviews. It's The Waiting Sands & The Devil on Lammas Night, two short novels by British author Susan Howatch contained in one book. Sands was first published in 1966 and Lammas Night was first published in 1970. It's not immediately clear when this Stein and Day hardcover was published; various sources indicate 1970, 1974 and 1979. As far as a credit for the cover illustration, I found a single Amazon.com reviewer reference to "Tim Gaydos" [this guy?], but nothing further to back that up.

As for Howatch's tales, the feedback is not terrific. Here are some snippets from Amazon, where readers have given the book 2.8 stars out of 5.0.

  • Great gothic setting - odd plot and characters
  • her characters were so flawed and self absorbed that it was difficult to care about what happened to them.
  • Much better novels about Satanic Cults are available
  • "Poole did something unprintable to both the contents of the chalice and the plates of bread. Several females in the congregation screamed in ecstasy." I think the ridiculous quote above pretty much sums up the book.
  • This is not Howatch's best but is readable nonetheless.

There were definitely more than a few Konkle library members who found this readable in the 1980s, according to the circulation-card pocket.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Da Doo Shaun Shaun

Shaun Cassidy (@shaunpcassidy) is the latest celebrity from my past who I have rediscovered on social media and personally dubbed a Twitter National Treasure (TNT). The 1970s Hardy Boys heartthrob only joined Twitter in August 2014, but has made a mark with his thoughtful, compassionate and sometimes humorous remarks.

Some of my other TNT faves, celebrity division, include Captain Kirk and Luke Skywalker:


Here are some Twitter gems from Shaun Cassidy that are worth preserving. (And you'll see at least one ephemera theme — everything connects here, folks.)











The Story of Mr. World, narrated by Lowell Thomas Jr.


This is the record sleeve for Volume 1 of The Story of Mr. World, which was produced in 1962 by Replogle Globes, a Chicago company that was founded in 1930 and, fighting the good fight against the Flat Earthers, remains a significant manufacturer of globes today.

The Story of Mr. World is a 33-1/3 RPM record that was narrated by Lowell Thomas Jr., who was writing about Forbidden Tibet when we last met him here on Papergreat. His tale is apparently so enchanting that Dad grabbed his pipe and wandered over to listen for a few minutes.

According to the information on the back of the record sleeve, The Story of Mr. World is a "new adventure in learning!" Here's an excerpt:
"Listen to this dramatic 15-minute sound-and-story narrative, and you'll discover more excitement in a globe than you ever dreamed of. ... As entertaining as it is educational, you hear the sounds of the earth — rain, ocean surf, hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes — thrill to the roar of jets, the fiery blastoff of spaceships streaking skyward! Now — for the first time — a world globe becomes a living, talking wonderland of knowledge — fascinating to all ages! All through their school years, children will play it again and again as a constant aid in the study and use of the globe."


This record wasn't, I believe, sold alone. It would have come with the purchase of a Replogle globe, one that was intended for home educational use. Here's an advertisement I found on a November 1966 page of The Des Moines Register.

Tue, Nov 15, 1966 – 8 · The Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa) · Newspapers.com

I don't typically embed YouTube videos, but here, for the sake of completeness and for the curious, are Thinkbolt's YouTube videos featuring Volume 1 and Volume 2 of The Story of Mr. World. Pull Dad away from his bills, extinguish his pipe, and have a listen!



Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What secret power did they possess? (Besides being white men?)


It's time for a short return to Fate magazine, after dabbling in some of the classified advertisements from a 1971 issue in April.

We're going with another 1971 issue this time around — the one from November of that year. For a cover price of 50 cents, it has stories about Mayans, magicians, Houdini, psychics, submarines, ghosts, evil spirits, retaliating fish and dancing chandeliers. But we're going to flip the magazine over and take a look at the advertisement on the back cover.

The advertisement is for The Rosicrucians, and it claims that the greatness and success enjoyed by Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon came from the "secret power" of their Rosicrucianism.

Wikipedia, despite having a very long article about Rosicrucianism, struggles to define it. That's probably because the Rosicrucians do, too. Wikipedia says the movement is "built on esoteric truths of the ancient past" and has a manifesto that is a mish-mash (my term, not theirs) of Kabbalah, Hermeticism, alchemy, and mystical Christianity.

But Rosicrucianism also has this amazing illustration, courtesy of Teophilus Schweighardt Constantiens exactly four centuries ago, in 1618...


Wouldn't it be fun to tour the country in that thing? You'd have to plan around tunnels and overpasses, but it would totally be worth it.

Getting back to Rosicrucianism, I'm trying not to let its concepts, tangled history and myriad branches melt my brain too much. I found a 2009 message board post that refers to the movement as a "low-pressure, less expensive version of Scientology," so maybe it's best to leave it at that. (OK, one more thing. You might also want to check out this essay on Uncommon Sense Ministries Inc.)

This 1971 advertisement wanted you to send for a free book, The Mastery of Life, from the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, a group of Rosicrucians who have had a sprawling presence and headquarters in San Jose, California, since 1927. If you're curious or bored and want a copy of the modern version of this book, here's the official link. But don't say I didn't warn you.